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Has Hong Kong lost its spot as a creative hub?

Judges at this year’s Kam Fan Awards are split over the quality of creativity in Hong Kong, with some arguing the city has lost its spot as a creative hub.

Hong Kong’s advertising industry suffers from a lack of creativity, said Ivy Wong, founder and CEO of Viss, at last night’s 2013 Kam Fan Awards judges sharing session.

As one of the media jury in this year HK4As’ annual awards, Wong said this year’s entries saw too many marketers are overemphasising how much is invested in the campaign as well as the focus of celebrity endorsement but overpassing the core element of marketing – engaging with consumers.

“Agencies mistakenly assume that the quality of a campaign and its price are tightly linked. They falsely believe that pumping money into creating overwhelming advertising is the way to succeed. But in fact it’s the opposite,” she said.

We value a campaign the most when it delivers a brand message in the simplest way within a limited budget. That’s usually where creativity comes from.

“Hong Kong used to lead the creative industry in Asia but we’ve already lost the dominant position.”

Wong cited the emergence of micro-movies as an example, saying it had already become a mature medium in China, which local agencies were blindly following.

“Agencies in Hong Kong are trying to follow their footsteps blindly without a well thought-out plan or quality content. It stifles creativity,” she added.

But not all judges agree with Wong’s sentiment.

Maggie Choi, former managing director of Touchmedia Hong Kong, also the chairman of 2013 Kam Fan media jury, said while the quality of this year’s entries were stable , they lacked outstanding ones.

“There are many campaigns which have good execution, but unfortunately they are just not being unique enough to surprise consumers.”

As the lines between media and creative continue to blur, Choi said most agencies failed to focus on specific categories for entry submission.

“Many agencies enter a single campaign to a lot of categories in a bid to increase the chance of being selected, without highlighting the strength of it. But the fact is judges may get tired of the campaign more easily when it comes up too many times.”

“What we are looking for is a campaign that starts with simple consumer insight that can be developed into ideas, which is able to ‘wow’ consumers by coordinating media, creative and technology. However, not many campaigns can reach that goal this year,” she added.

As conventional media limits creativity and marketing development, the transition from traditional to digital media has become more prominent then ever before. In this age of integration, the trick is to know how to include traditional media as a big part in integrated campaign, she said.

Some representative examples given by the panels include Canon IXUS’s “Photo Kidictionary” campaign by Draftfcb Hong Kong, Pak Fook’s “100 Tofu Recipes Wanted” by McCann, Kinder Joy’s “Mobile Goodness” by Leo Burnett Hong Kong and Unicef Hong Kong’s “NFC Charity Stickers” by Cheil Hong Kong.

All of above have been named finalist of this year Kam Fan Awards.


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